Grant Shultz is a man in limbo. Having won branch preselection to run as the Liberal candidate in the Federal seat of Gilmore, Mr Shultz is awaiting the final endorsement from the State Executive before he can begin
campaigning for the election.
Gilmore was the last electorate to be decided in 2016, leaving it as one of the most marginal in the country. The Labor candidate in that election, Fiona Phillips, has been campaigning tirelessly ever since.
“I can’t talk about the three Ps – policy, party and politics – at the moment,” he says with a smile when catching up for the first time with The Bugle.
As the son of well known State and Federal Liberal politician Alby Shultz, he knows the commitment that is ahead of him if he is successful at the ballot box and is inspired by his father’s example.
“Dad was in politics for 34 years. He was always out focusing on his electorate.
“He rejected state ministerial roles because he thought it would distract him from representing the interests of his community.”
Mr Shultz says that his standing as a candidate isn’t a career move for him.
“I’ve had my career – 28 years in policing, including three and a half years in peace keeping roles, mostly in East Timor.
“This is about me standing up for the little guys in our electorate that otherwise don’t have a voice.
“The way I see it, the role is not a great shift from what I did in policing – looking after your community.”
He says it was only seven or eight years ago that he began being more active politically.
On leaving the police, he worked in real estate, a business he sold last year in preparation for running for Parliament.
“I was approached prior to the 2016 election to run [in Gilmore], and I declined because I didn’t think it was in the best interests of the party,” he says.
“I thought Ann should be given a further chance. After the last election I was approached again, and after a lot of consideration I decided I would nominate for a number of reasons.
“In both instances Ann was the first person I told of my decision.
“She withdrew [from the preselection and announced her retirement from Parliament], but that was a decision she could make. I didn’t anticipate that.”
In announcing her decision in Parliament, Ms Sudmalis blamed internal party politics and gender issues.
Mr Shultz says he has never had a problem with strong women and the Gilmore area is well represented by them, citing Shelley Hancock, the Member for the South Coast and NSW Speaker and Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Finlay, along with the presidents of the Liberal Party branches in Ulladulla (his wife Rebecca) and Nowra.
With regard for the challenges facing Gilmore, Mr Shultz was drawn to say, “You can’t have communities without growth, but it has to be a balanced sustainable approach to development. If we don’t grow we stagnate, if we stagnate we die.”
He lives in Milton with his wife and two daughters, aged 11 and 13. His wife also had a long career in policing, and she now runs a shop in Milton. Expect to see more of him.